At the missions conference in Spain I had a long lunch with a girl who is working at an international school in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. About 3/4 the way through our conversation, I couldn't resist anymore: "So this is kind of a weird question, but do you have any theories, about, you know, Africa's issues?" I don't know why it was such an awkward question to pose in the conversation. Maybe it was because of how she talked about the Tanzanian kids she worked with with such a sense of humanity, and often "Africa's problems" conversations do not. But, she laughed a little and started telling me stories about long-term relationships with kids in which she had seen moral growth and about "circles of responsibility" and how giving money to beggars wasn't always the best thing to do. When I still wanted the theoretical side, she suggested this book, African Friends and Money Matters, an ethnography from an African perspective. Interesting.
"Greg Gillis’ laptop, which is the only instrument at a Girl Talk show, “sits on stage with a few hundred sweaty people jumping around, potentially jumping on it, potentially sweating [on it], puking, drinking, [potentially spilling] all sorts of bodily fluids all over it.” So Gillis has upped the ante and turned to a Panasonic Toughbook-74, a heavy-duty laptop intended for military use."
In Islantilla, the place where the hotel was where we had the missions conference, there was a walkway by the beach that had palm trees and benches lining it. On nine of the benches was a poem in a series. I'll do my best to translate it.
It all began almost eleven months ago and that day saw the...(i can't make it out) that neither thought that they would live the most beautiful love story that any one had ever imagined. he found in her the girl of his dreams Yes, this is a dream from which I never want to wake. This is like the fairy tales but you and I are the characters and the story has no end. I love you, my Nipa I only care about you we said we would always be together if you would want it, it would be so forever and ever you are my life
I know! Ridiculous. We took a day-trip to Tavira, Portugal. Nothing much to say, all of the people who came to help out with the missionary kids took a trip and walked around the town. Very sleepy, right near a river. The tiles on the buildings were ridiculous. I found out that my broken spanish is workable when ordering from a lunch bar/cerveceria-type place.
Sharon and I went on a tour of the palace, and our tour went around a courtyard, which this is a picture looking out onto. The rooms were all garish, with everything covered in gold. One of the rooms had a quartet plus one, all of Stradivarius instruments. The beautiful thing about many of the historic spots in Spain that we went to was that they often had a student price, usually about 1/3 of regular cost. Awesome. Sharon was good and didn't take my old Mizzou student ID.
Sharon and I were told to meet our friend Marc by the Bear statue in Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Our friend, via facebook, helpfully gave us the spanish phrase "donde esta el estatua del oso?" - not knowing our vast knowledge of the spanish language, based on my "advanced conversation" course in spanish at mizzou - securing me conversational ability with a second grader. well, we found it, and those madrinellos love that bear. por que?
"Why the bear and the madroño tree are the symbols of Madrid? -- You see them everywhere -- from the small bronze statue in the Puerta del Sol to the insignia on the side of city taxis: A squat bear on its hind legs attempting to eat the berries on a equally squatmadroño, or so-called strawberry tree. They are the official symbol of Madrid. But why? Opinions vary. The practical theory is that the bear standing on its hind legs with its front paws on the tree trunk represent possession and ownership of wood necessary for constructing buildings. The sentimental theory is based on the fact that bears love sweet things and constantly try to extract honey from beehives. According to legend, because they suffer from sore eyes, they get stung and bleed from their wounds to such an extent that it relieves them of some of the pain. Next, they grope around desperately for a madroño tree and start gobbling the fruit, whose bitterness belies its rich red exterior (it only looks like a strawberry) and shocks the palate into further reducing the pain by virtue of sheer distraction. So, masochistically, they rid themselves of their discomfort. The first theory makes sense as a metaphor for how Madrid has grown. The second is rather cute but doesn't seem to have any particular relevance. Take your pick.
from Frommers, the guide book we should have brought to Madrid.
I remember Brad Renfro as the "slightly too old for me to have a serious crush on" celebrity of the JTT era. He was in Tom and Huck, a classic with JTT. His career has kind of sucked lately (IMDB that) and then he landed a role in the upcoming the Informers (the trailer has a lot of Bret Easton Ellis-y lines, reminds me of American Psycho) - which looks AWESOME by the way.
I am the youngest child of a youngest child, and so all of my grandparents were dead by the time I was 15. Both sets of grandparents lived through the depression - the set I was closest to were millionaires by their 80s and still packed meals for road trips.
Clara, 91, can be my surrogate grandma. She's just like a real one - tells the same stories over and over, cooks weird things, and talks about her grandkids a lot. She's precious.
"When people succumb to that temptation of ignoring challenges to their faith, they are in the end demonstrating that they are more committed to the feeling of having a lock on truth than they are to truth itself."
- Lost in Transmission: What we can know about the words of Jesus by Nicholas Perrin (response to Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman) - for my Cross-Cultural Communications class
"St. Louis - with its Forest Park - a wonderful park with rolling ground, trees, a lake, an art museum on top of a hill, a complete zoo, and a marvelous and constantly changing greenhouse where large trees andbasic plants remained, but where flower displays were a kind of succession of 'shows' fitting the season - was to be our home city. St. Louis - with its Kiel Auditorium and emphasis on symphony concerts, with its lovely big downtown stores (before shopping malls began), when errands could be done so efficiently and one could have special luncheons or a refreshing 'bit' (a salad and an iced coffee) when meeting someone for conversation - was to open new doors for us. St. Louis - where 'city homes' were solid red brick or stone, on tree-lined streets, some of the more affluent 'private streets' with their magnificent old wrought-iron gates taking one back to anotherperiod of history...St. Louis - a city with two universities, medical colleges, and especially good private schools, enormous hospital complexes some very successful business as well as Roman Catholic seminaries, and the Lutheran Concordia Seminary; a city with a wide cross-section of people form the country-club set to the underprivileged - was to be an education for us, in some new ways, as well as a challenge! St. Louis - called in travel guides 'Gateway to the West' as it stands on the Mississippi River, whichconnects a fantastic range of places form Minneapolis to New Orleans - was to be our home city, and, as far as we knew, it was to be for a lifetime."
from Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life by Colin Duriez (for my Cross-Cultural Communications class)